I like Melbourne. It might be unfashionable, but it's a really lovely city. The drought seems to have broken, the dams are filling, there's an air of anticipation with Cup Day almost upon us. The trees are green again, (did we lose as many through drought as they expected?) and the city seems genuinely welcoming, and dare I say, during the day at least, it's a good place to visit.
There are more coffee shops and cafes than you could shake the proverbial stick at. The serviceable chains are well represented: Hudson's, Gloria Jeans, Starbucks, but more interesting are the smaller owner operators. And they offer good coffee. You want it organic? no problems. Fair Trade? just down the lane. A richer brew? over the road. You only drink soylatte? fine, that's there too. You'd like to sit outside and watch the passing parade? you'll certainly join a vibrant throng doing just the same. Yes, we're certainly well served by fabulous cafes, with some interesting graffiti to ponder when you tire of the cafe scene.
The First Tuesday in November. A date we know and love! After the lack of public holidays through winter, this one is very welcome. The boutiques are pulling out all stops to outdo their competitors, and entice the cashed up, glamorous young ladies in. But this is the first time I've seen golden rose petals complete with glitter strewn outside; surprisingly, no one had stomped on them during the frenetic lunch hour.
But alongside this commentary on coffee lover's heaven, I suppose I should mention in passing that yesterday there was a small downside.
It's safer to seek safe haven in the airconditioned food halls than risk a shower of sneezed droplets at an outdoor cafe on a day like yesterday, perfect as it - almost - was.
And why does Melbourne get such bad press? Because after the (almost) perfection of yesterday, today it's raining, and the forecast for tomorrow? Heavier rain. I haven't checked what they're predicting for Tuesday, but my recollection is of painful sunburn one year, and paddling in floodwater later the same day. Keep's you on your toes though don't you think?